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William Nelson was a four-year star in tennis and soccer during his days at Coupeville High School. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Consistency.

That was the trademark of William Nelson, and it was a trait he displayed on the tennis court, the soccer pitch and in the classroom.

Before he graduated last spring, the long ‘n lanky one was money in the bank for Coupeville High School sports teams.

Need a big play, or maybe just a small, but very significant, one?

Nelson was the go-to guy, never prone to thumping his chest or screaming about how great he was, just the ultimate cool professional who did his job (and everyone else’s) game in, game out.

There was a moment, a very brief moment, during a super-tense match as seniors, when he and lifetime doubles mate Joey Lippo tapped tennis rackets with 2% more enthusiasm than normal after winning a tough point.

It was the equivalent of another player ripping their jersey in half, then mooning the fans while sprinting around the court, waving a flag, screaming “U-S-A, U-S-A!!!”

Most times, Nelson was content to slightly arch an eyebrow or smile a half-smile after he had decimated his foes.

He knew he had reached into their chest cavity, ripped out their heart and shown it to them, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom“-style, and they knew it, too.

So, half-smile, nod and move on to the next thing on his to-do list.

If he had only played one sport, either soccer or tennis, Nelson would likely still be receiving induction into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

But, since he played both, and excelled so thoroughly in two very different worlds, it’s a slam dunk.

So, after this, when you travel up to the top of the blog and peek under the Legends tab, you’ll find Nelson there, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Wolf greats of yore.

And there is little doubt he deserves the honor.

As the heart and soul of the CHS soccer squad, Nelson was a four-time First-Team All-Conference player as a midfielder.

He combined deft moves, smooth speed and a willingness to get down and dirty while scrapping, and could be a solid goal scorer, a superb set-up man for other Wolf gunners, or a bit of both.

More more than most players, Nelson was quick to adapt his game to fit best with the skill sets of his teammates.

As players came and went during his four-year run on the CHS pitch, he adjusted how he played to better mesh with each new star, and never seemed to care whether his name was the one in the spotlight, or theirs.

What mattered most to Nelson, or at least that’s how it always seemed from the outside, was putting his team in a position to win.

He was an ideal captain, well-respected, a leader both by action and words, and his calmness carried over to many of his running mates.

Nelson wasn’t a pushover, at all. Exactly the opposite.

Try and elbow him, or kick him, or mess with his teammates, and he subtly responded, making sure you didn’t do it twice, while rarely drawing the wrath of the officials.

His quiet toughness carried over to the tennis courts, where he and Lippo (who will likely join him in the Hall o’ Fame in short order) perfectly synced up for a four-year run as doubles partners.

Two tall players with rock-solid hitting styles, who held their emotions largely in check while picking apart foes, they came within a point of making it to state as seniors, while anchoring the Wolf lineup day after day, year after year.

Longtime Coupeville tennis coach Ken Stange described Nelson as “silky smooth” and “pretty unflappable.”

Will and Joey played so many big matches through the years,” he said. “And they often drew a crowd when they played, which says a lot because tennis usually does not draw a crowd.”

Matinee idol, big game ace, serene superstar – they all describe Nelson.

And now you can add Hall o’ Famer to the list.

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   Coupeville’s Chayse Van Velkinburgh, a 7-year-old playing for a U10 soccer squad, won a tourney title this weekend. (Photos courtesy Dustin Van Velkinburgh)

   Deception FC, and its Cow Town gunslinger (second from left, bottom row) marinate in the victory.

Like father, like son.

Coupeville hoops coach Dustin Van Velkinburgh was a soccer sensation back in his younger days, and now his son, Chayse, is coming for all the old man’s records.

The younger Van Velkinburgh, who is headed into the second grade at Coupeville Elementary this fall, is proving to be a pitch prodigy.

While he’s only seven, Chayse is already advanced enough he plays alongside booters several years older.

He and his squad, the Deception FC, stormed through the field at the Starfire Xtreme Cup in Tukwila this weekend, capturing the title in the U10 select gold division.

Van Velkinburgh started all four games on defense.

When he wasn’t locking down rival shooters, he also moved forward at times, punching home a goal and recording four assists.

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Jenna Dickson leads off our collection of spring sports portraits. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Zach Ginnings

Alex Jimenez

James Vidoni

Mason Grove

Dawson Houston

Ben Smith

Ivy Leedy

Time for a little spring cleaning.

As the season winds down, I’m going through head shots snapped by John Fisken and trying to make sure 99.3% of them get used.

The eight above, covering softball, baseball and boys soccer, are ones that, for whatever reason, had yet to see the light of day.

Before you ask, there are no tennis pics because it’s a smaller team and I already used all their head shots.

And track? It’s a bigger team and no one snapped head shots, so I can’t use something I never had.

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   Former All-Conference player Luke Pelant joined the CHS soccer coaching staff this year, helping the Wolves make their longest playoff run since 2010. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The 11th time was not the charm.

Squaring off with Olympic League rival Klahowya Thursday night in Silverdale, the Coupeville High School boys soccer squad experienced a good case of deja vu.

Falling 3-0 to the host Eagles, the Wolves were knocked out of the West Central District 3 playoffs and likely ended their relationship with a school they could not beat on the pitch.

After making their deepest run into the postseason in almost a decade, the Coupeville booters finished 7-9-2.

A win over five-time state champ Bellevue Christian kicked things off, then losses to Vashon Island and KSS ended things.

Now CHS jumps to the new North Sound Conference, and returns to District 1, this fall.

Klahowya (14-3-1), which never lost to a fellow 1A Olympic League team in four years, advances to play either Vashon Island or Charles Wright Academy Saturday in a winner-to-state, loser-goes-home game.

The Eagles scored early Thursday, when Pacific Lutheran University recruit Mason Joe hauled in a long ball and poked it into the back of the net.

A second goal came in the 22nd minute, when Josh Connolly’s corner kick found the perfect angle and deflected in off of Coupeville goaltender Dewitt Cole’s outstretched hands.

The Wolves played aggressively in the second half, hoping to emulate their late-game heroics against Vashon, but it wasn’t to be.

The game’s final score, a tap-in off of a cross, came courtesy William Stewart.

“It was a fairly close game,” said Coupeville coach Kyle Nelson. “They made us pay for a couple of mistakes and were able to keep us at bay, though we did have a few pretty good shots.

“They definitely put some attention on their defense to keep us out,” he added. “Overall, a good game for us; we were in it until the very end.”

While the loss ended the season, and the careers of seniors Hunter Downes, Axel Partida, Ethan Spark and William Nelson, this postseason was the best for Wolf boys soccer in quite some time.

The last playoff win for CHS came in 2012, and the three games was the most Coupeville had played in one postseason since they won four of six playoff games during a run to the state tourney in 2010.

The Wolves also busted two single-season goal scoring records, with sophomore Derek Leyva toppling cousin Abraham’s mark for a player (21 goals), and the team tallying a program-best 66 scores.

Those who found the net in 2018:

Derek Leyva – 24
Aram Leyva – 13
William Nelson – 8
Sam Wynn – 5
Hunter Downes – 3
Sage Downes – 3
Pedro Gamarra – 3
Ethan Spark – 2
James Wood – 2
Chris Cernick – 1
Jonathan Partida – 1
“Own” goal by other team – 1

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   After a loss to Vashon Tuesday, Coupeville High School soccer coach Kyle Nelson and his players have their backs to the wall. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Time to dig deep and find a miracle.

After absorbing an 8-4 loss to Vashon Island Tuesday, the Coupeville High School boys soccer squad finds itself in a tough spot.

The district playoff loss, which came on a neutral field at Mt. Tahoma High School, drops the Wolves to 7-8-2.

It also drops them into a loser-out game Thursday, one which presents a daunting task.

CHS has to travel 96 miles (one-way) to Orting High School, doesn’t play until 8 PM and faces Klahowya, a team the Wolf booters have never beaten in 10 previous games.

The Eagles are in the loser-out game because they were nipped Tuesday in a penalty kick shootout after ending regulation and overtime tied 3-3 with Charles Wright Academy.

Vashon and CWA play in the front-end of a doubleheader at Orting Thursday, with the winner advancing to state.

The loser of that game returns to Orting Saturday to face the survivor of the Thursday late game in a battle for District 3’s second slot to state.

For it to be Coupeville, the Wolves will have to do something no 1A Olympic League team has done in four years, upend Klahowya, which is 13-4-1 this year.

KSS has outscored CHS 47-5 over their 10 meetings, though the Wolves played the Eagles almost to a standstill in a 3-2 loss this season.

The Wolves fell behind early against Vashon, surrendering a pair of goals in the early moments of the game and trailing 6-1 at the half.

Sophomore Aram Leyva got Coupeville on the board with his 13th goal of the season, off an assist from William Nelson, and the Wolves were much sharper offensively after the break.

“We had a good halftime talk and came to life in the second half,” said CHS coach Kyle Nelson.

CHS “won” that 40-minute span 3-2, with Derek Leyva adding to his Wolf boys single-season scoring record.

He punched in a hat trick in one half, with his three goals lifting him to 24 on the year. That leaves him just shy of the school record of 27, set by Mia Littlejohn.

 

UPDATE: Game moved from 8 PM at Orting High School to 5 PM at Silverdale Stadium. Moves saves Coupeville 86 miles of round-trip bus travel.

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